The Family of
Neal White and Belle McGahey



This page last updated March 1, 2014.

Neal White was born on February 18, 1886, the second of four children, to James Alonzo "Lon" White and Callie Wofford. He was born in the Webster community of Winston County, Mississippi (in present day Louisville) at the original White house place where he grew up. When he got old enough, Neal and his brother Tom set up a sawmill on the family land holdings.

Belle McGahey was born on August 29, 1891, the youngest of eleven children, to Louis LeFlore McGahey, Jr. and Louisa Mann. She was born in Winston County, Mississippi and grew up in the Boon Hill community (in present day Louisville).

On February 10, 1907, Neal and Belle were married in Winston County. He was eight days shy of his 21st birthday, and she was only 15. After they married, Neal and Belle lived with Neal's mother Callie White near where his sawmill was. Their first son Davis was born almost exactly 12 months after they married(1908), and their son Henry Lee was born two years after that (1910). Davis was 6 and Henry was 4 when Neal filed for divorce in August 1914. Belle moved in with her father when they separated, and their divorce was ordered by the Chancery Court of Winston County in September. What is somewhat ironic is that Clarence and Maude McClenahan had their divorce ordered on the same day as Neal and Belle. In fact, the McClenahan's were the case that immediately proceeded Neal and Bell in court on Sept 29, 1914. Two years later, almost to the day in 1916, Clarence and Belle married. I know Henry Lee lived with his mom after she remarried, and I know Davis went to live with Granny Callie White. But I don't know whether Davis ever lived with his mom after she and Neal separated. My grandfather Henry Lee said the only personal memory he had of Neal was seeing him one day at the saw mill. He was introduced to Neal as if he were a stranger. Neal put Henry up on his lap and let Henry hold his ivory-handled pipe.

Neal worked as a sawyer at the lumber mill that he ran with his brother Tom White, but at some point he decided he wanted to become a doctor. Grandson Joe Davis White told me in 2010 that he has seen a picture of Robert Neal White standing over his cadaver with a caption "Meridian Medical School". According to internet sources, the Mississippi Medical College in Meridian, Mississippi was formed in 1906 by a group of physicians who were seeking an alternative to the two-year program offered at that time by the University of Mississippi.(1) The school received a poor review in 1910, however, from Abraham Flexner who visited medical schools across the nation to report on the status of medical education in the United States.(2) Presumably as a result of Flexner's report, the school closed in 1912.(3)

  1. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 1986. 41(2):232-233; doi:10.1093/jhmas/41.2.232. 1986 by Oxford University Press. Retrieved 01-Aug-2010
  2. Promises kept: the University of Mississippi Medical Center, p. 10. By Janis Quinn, University of Mississippi Medical Center. 2005 by University of Mississippi Medical Center, University Press of Mississippi.
  3. "List of medical schools in the United States" on Wikipedia. Reference cited by website: Council on Medical Education and Hospitals (1918). Medical Colleges of the United States and of foreign countries 1918. American Medical Association. Retrieved 01-Aug-2010.
But before he was able to finish medical school, Neal developed tuberculosis and decided to move out West for his health. He moved to Sarah, Oklahoma where he stayed with his aunt Sarah White Williams (his father's sister) as he continued his studies. It appears that his health did not improve because in March 1917, Neal died in Sarah, Oklahoma. According to Henry Lee and Mattie White, his mother Callie did not have enough money to bring his body home, so she went out there to his funeral. He was buried there in Doxey-Sayre Cemetery, and his tombstone shows that he was a member of the Woodmen of the World.

When Neal and Belle separated in 1914, Belle moved back into her father's house on Boon Hill. In September 1916, Belle remarried to Clarence (C.A.) McClenahan (sometimes spelled McClanahan). Belle's son Henry Lee lived with her and McClenahan, but her other son Davis lived with his grandmother Callie White instead. McClenahan was a sawyer, so they moved all over Winston County from one sawmill to another. They were living in the Ellison Ridge community in Winston County when Belle died in May 1921. According to Mattie White (Davis White's second wife), Belle died of a miscarriage. She and McClenahan had been trying to have children but were unsuccessful. She miscarried and died of severe hemorrhage. However, Belle's son Henry Lee said she died of a heart attack.

After Belle's death in 1921, Clarence (C.A.) McClenahan remarried to Vera Halfacre who had a daughter by her first husband. According to interviews with Henry Lee during 1999-2000, he continued to live with McClenahan for another year or so until strife with C.A.'s new wife became an issue. When life with McClenahan and his new wife became untolerable, Henry said his goodbyes to C.A. and moved in with his Uncle John McGahey who lived at his Grandpa McGahey's house in the neighboring Boon Hill community. Even though Henry Lee and Davis lived in different communities, they both attended Bond School. One day at school, Davis asked Henry "Why don't you come and go home with me?" Henry replied, "I think I will", and he did...to stay. That was the very day that Granny White was moving from her home near the old road on the north end of her property to her new house on the south end of her property near where the new Bond Road was being built. Henry Lee lived with Granny White until he married in 1932. At that time, Davis helped Henry Lee add on to Granny White's house while Granny moved next door to live with her son Tom White. Henry Lee and his family lived in that house until he moved into a nursing home in 2001. In 2010, the house still stands.

Footnote: When I was at in Louisville in July of this year (2010), I visited the Winston County Courthouse and located some guardianship records for Henry Lee and Davis. When Neal died in 1917, Belle McClenahan petitioned the court to appoint a guardian over the finances of Henry Lee and Davis. It seems that Neal died with an estate of about $1000. The court appointed BM McCully, the Chancery Clerk at the time, as their financial guardian. When McCully's term as clerk expired a couple of years later, he transferred their guardianship to the new Chancery Clerk Clinton Moore. But apparently Clinton Moore didn't feel it was necessary to turn in annual reports of their finances, so Henry Lee and Davis sued Moore to force him to make an annual report of their finances. Moore resigned as their guardian, and WT Fulton, vice president of the Louisville Home Bank, where Henry Lee and Davis's money was kept, volunteered to be their financial guardian. I can't really say for sure, but it seems that the lawsuit was both to force Clinton Moore to account for their finances as well as to recover about $250 in expenses he seemed to have spent on himself plus to force him to give them 8% on their money (instead of nothing as he had apparently done). I think the Winston County Chancery Court must have ruled in favor of Moore, because Fulton (on behalf of Davis and Henry Lee) appealed the case, and the case eventually wound up in front of the Mississippi State Supreme Court. The higher court overruled the verdict and demanded Moore turn in an accounting, pay back the $250 dollars, and give them interest on their money. I don't remember if the court ruled for 8% or 4% interest; I just don't remember. Either way, WT Fulton continued to be their financial guardian until Davis reached the age of 21. In 1930, Neal Prisock, an attorney, filed a petiton to the court on behalf of Granny White and Davis to have Henry Lee's disability of minority removed so he could be declared an adult. He was 20 at the time. When the court approved their petition, WT Fulton turned Henry's finances over to him and released himself from guardianship.


Robert Neal White (sometimes spelled Rurel or Ruel due to the spelling of his son Davis' name. He is usually listed just as R. Neal)
Born: February 18, 1886 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Married: February 10, 1907 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Divorced: September 29, 1914 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Died: March 21, 1917 in Sarah, Beckham County, Oklahoma
Buried: Doxey-Sayre Cemetery, Sarah, Oklahoma
Father: James Alonzo White
Mother: Callie Marguerite Wofford (or Margaret Caroline Wofford)

Mary Belle (or Bell) McGahey
Born: October 31, 1915 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Died: May 18, 1921 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
Buried: New Hope Cemetery, Louisville, Mississippi
Father: Louis LeFlore McGahey, Jr.
Mother: Louisa Mann

  1. Ruel Davis White
    Born: January 21, 1908 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Married (1): August 06, 1933 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse (1): Janett Parker
    Married (2): February 03, 1951 probably in Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse (2): Mattie Hodges
    Died: June 23, 1970 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Buried: Memorial Park Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi

    Davis and Janett had two sons: Joe Davis White, who married Anne Adams, and Ben Robert "Bud" White, who married Ellen German.

  2. Henry Lee White
    Born: April 03, 1910 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Married: February 12, 1932 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Spouse: "Tiny" Hazel Ethel Crowell
    Died: December 15, 2006 in Louisville, Winston County, Mississippi
    Buried: Murphy Creek Cemetery, Winston County, Mississippi

    Henry Lee and Tiny had four children: daughter Mary Evelyn White (who died at 6 months old), daughter Hazel Lee White (who married Bobby Gene Ward), son John Henry White (who married Katherine Louise Whitten), and son Gerald Lamar White (who married Martha Louise Robertson then later married Micky).


The Whites -- by Davis White
II R. Neal White born   2-18-86 died   3-21-17 married Bell McGahey   date   2-10-07 age 31 yrs
  Mary Bell McGahey born   8-29-91 died   5-18-21 married Neal White       date         "       age 30 yrs
          R. Davis White born  1-21-08 died  6-23-70* married Janet Parker     date   8-6-33    
        married Mattie Hodges date   2-3-51    
          Henry L. White born   4-3-10   died                 married Hazel Crowell   date   2-12-32  
          Hazel Crowell born 10-31-15 died                 married Henry L. White date         "        

* MKJ Note: Davis' death date of 1970 was filled in by a different hand.

1900 Winston County, Mississippi Census -- Beat 3, Supervisor Dist 5, Enum Dist 100, Page 316, Sheet 6A, 9 June 1900, House/Family 98/102:
* White, Neil - son, white, male, born Feb 1887, age 13, single, born MS, parents born MS, attended 4 months school, can read/write/speak English -- living with Callie White

1910 Winston County, Mississippi Census -- Beat 3, Webster part of Township 15 Range 13, Supevisor Dist 5, Enum Dist 123, Page 23, Sheet 12A, April 28, 1910, House/Family 153/153:
* White, Marguerite C - head, female, white, age 42 [1868], widowed, children born/living 4/4, born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, Farmer, General Farm, employer, able to read/write, not in school since 9/1/1909, owned mortgaged farm, farm schedule 173
* White, Carrie - daughter, female, white, age 16 [1894], single, born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, occupation none, able to read/write, yes in school since 9/1/1909
* White, Robert N [first name difficult to read but does look like Robert; initial N is clear]- son, male, white, age 23 [1887], married 1st time, married 2 years [1908], born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, Sawyer, Saw Mill, wages, at work on 4/15/1910, 0 weeks out of work during 1909, able to read/write, not in school since 9/1/1909
* White, [illegible] Mary? B? or C? - daughter in law?, female, white, age 18 [1892], married 1st time, married 2 years [1908], children born/living 2/2, born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, occupation none, able to read/write, not in school since 9/1/1909
* White, [illegible; first name could be Rule] D - grandson, male, white, age 2 [1908], single, born MS, parents born MS, [left blank] speaks English, occupation none, [left blank] able to read/write
* White, Henry L - grandson, male, white, age 1/12 [April 1910], single, born MS, parents born MS, [left blank] speaks English, occupation none, [left blank] able to read/write

1920 Winston County, Mississippi Census -- Beat 3 part of Webster, Supervisor Dist No. 5, Enum. Dist No. 134, Sheet No. 13B, 27-29 Jan, 1920, House 249 Family 254:
* McClenahan, Clerence - head, own home free, male, white, age 40 [1880], married, able to read/write, born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, occupation = sawyer at lumber mill for wages
* McClenahan, Belle - wife, female, white, age 28 [1892], married, able to read/write, born MS, parents born GA, speaks English, no occupation
* McClenahan, Henry - son, male, white, age 9 [1910], single, attended school since Sept 1, 1918, able to read/write, born MS, parents born MS, no occupation
* McClenahan, Weldon - brother, male, white, age 30 [1890], single, able to read/write, born MS, parents born MS, speaks English, occupation = log sealer at lumber mill for wages

Winston County, Mississippi Chancery Court Records, Louisville, Mississippi.

Chancery Docket 3 1914-1925: Case 1687 (p. 27) -- ML Wright, attorney: White, Neal vs. Bell White - Original bill for divorce filed August 15, 1914. Citation to Winston County issued Aug 17, 1914 and returned executed by personal service Aug 24, 1914 and filed Aug 24, 1914. Decree filed September 29, 1914 (EMB 4 P 524) (MKJ note: Original packet of records is missing or has been misfiled; searched for on July 7, 2010.)

Chancery Minutes 4 1905-1916: Case 1687 (p. 524) -- Neal White vs. Bell White - This day came on to be heard the above cause on original bill, personal service and oral proof, and the court after hearing the same, and being of the opinion the allegations in complainants bill are true as stated, doth that the bonds of matrimony existing between complainant and defendant be and the same are dissolved and held for naught. Ordered, adjudged and decreed this 29th day of September 1914. James F. McCool, Chancellor.

Record Packet for Cause 1972 -- Petition for Letters of Guardianship, Estate of Robert Neal White Deceased, in the Chancery Court of Winston County. Petition of Bell McClenahan filed 12 day of May 1917, BM McCully, Clerk.
      Petition of Bell McClenahan in the matter of the estate of Robert Neal White Deceased, for Letters of Guardianship. To the Hon. Albert Y. Woodward, Chancellor of the Chancery Court of the County of Winston in the State of Mississippi. The petition of the undersigned Bell McClanahan respectfully represents that Robert Neal White late of said County, deceased, left surviving him two minor children, to wit:

      That said minors are resident of this County; that said minors are entitled as heirs at law of said Robert Neal White deceased, who died intestate, to a personal estate, estimated at $1000, for his heir's share, and your petitioner is advised that a legal guardian is necessary for the protection of the interests of said minors therein.
      That your petitioner is the mother and natural guardian of said minors, and as such has, since the death of said decedent, had the custody and tuition of said minors, and now prays your Honor that Letters of Guardianship be granted to BM McCully clerk of Chancery Court of Winston Co Miss of the person and estate [person struck through] of said minors, according to the statutes. Said petitioner further knows that she has first right to said letters of guardianship but she waives said right and asks that said letters be granted as above prayed.
      And your petitioner, as in duty bound, will ever pray. Belle McClenahan -- Sworn and subscribed to before me, this 12th day of May 1917. BM McCully Clerk.

Chancery Court Minute Book 5 -- Cause 1972 -- In the Matter of the Guardianship of Ruel Davis White and Henry Lee White, Minors, B.M. McCully, Chancery Clerk, Guardian, regarding first annual report of guardian found to betrue and correct and guardian excused from reporting for three years. Ordered September 23, 1918.

Additional information found in record packet for Cause 1972 [MKJ summarized below]
      BM McCully became guardian on 12 May 1917 when Belle waived right of guardianship and petitioned court to appoint guardian of personal estate of minor children. His first annual report filed Sept 23, 1918 and recorded in Chancery Court Minute Book 5. His term expired on Mar 26, 1924 so he resigned as guardian and transferred guardianship to Clinton Moore, who had been elected Chancery Clerk on January 1924. Moore did not file annual reports as required. Clinton resigned as guardian, and WT Fulton, Vice President of Louisville Home Bank petitioned to be their guardian. He was appointed as such 20 Dec 1927 (Book 6 Page 138). But Davis and Henry took Clinton Moore to court to get a final account of their estate and to recover 8% interest on their money.
      Ruel Davis White et al vs. Clinton Moore Ruel Davis White (also spelled Rural on some papers) and Henry Lee White filed suit against Clinton Moore, Guardian, on 4 Sept 1931. The case went to Mississippi Supreme Court on Dec 5, 1932 as Ruel Davis White et al vs. Clinton Moore, No. 30292. Decision was given on April 1933 that Henry Lee and Davis could recover $1041.39 with 8% interest from April 1, 1933 until paid from their guardian Clinton Moore. This decision reversed the previous decision of the Chancery Court of Winston.

Chancery Docket 4 -- Cause 3801 -- White, Henry L. a minor by Neal Prisock next friend -- Exparte petition original bill for disabilities of minority be removed filed March 4, 1930. Final decree filed April 23, 1930 (EMB 6 P 275)

Chancery Court Minute Book 6 Nov. 20, 1924 - Oct. 27, 1934 -- Cause 3801 (page 275) -- Exparte petition of Henry Lee White, a minor, by Neal Prisock, next friend, Davis White, Mrs. C.M. White, grandmother. Order removing minority disability showing an estate of $658.94 in hands of W.T. Fulton, guardian of minor's estate but not of minor's person, to be turned over to H.L. White. Ordered April 22, 1930.


In Memory of Belle -- undated newspaper clipping, assumed to be from the Winston County Journal

Just at the break of day on May 17th 1921, the angel of death crept into the home of Mr. C.A. McClanahan and bore away the spirit of his loving companion. Oh, how sad it is to look into that home and see her smiling face no more. But God knoweth best in all things. He never makes mistakes. She leaves a husband and two dear little boys, and a host of friends and relatives to mourn her death. To them I say: weep not, for your loss is her gain.
"We loved her, yes we loved her,
But God hath loved her more,
And He has borne her spirit
To yonder shining shore"
        Written by one who loved her -- A.B.



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Mary K. Johnson

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